Sunday, September 09, 2018


Operational Landscape Oil on linen 41 x 56 cm 2018

Operational Landscape is a continuation of my interest in exposing what I call the 'signalscape' of the 21st century. This invisible 'signalscape' enables the operation of networked and interconnected digital and cyber systems - including systems that are militarised or militarise-able. I have spent many hours painting landscapes that are netted by signals, with skies occupied by weaponised drones and satellites hovering in space. I have come to realise that signals, ricocheting from node to node, from land to sky and into space, create a persistent readiness for offensive and defensive activities - an ever-present readiness for war. 

It was with great interest that I read the Australian Chief of the Army, Lieutenant General Richard Burr's recent Accelerated Warfare statement. In this statement he maps out a future trajectory for war and how Australia might respond to accelerating developments in warfare. The statement places emphasis on technology. This quote below is particularly pertinent re: my painting Operational Landscape:

"Threat. Our operating landscape is changing – adversaries, including violent extremist organisations and state-based threats can now control and influence all operating domains. The advent of rapidly evolving, easily accessed technology increasingly offers asymmetric capabilities to both established powers as well as non-state actors and even individuals. The ability to sense and strike from long range as well as swarming low-cost technologies are increasing the vulnerability of major military systems. Future strike capabilities will not just be physical but also digital, executed often at the speed of a mouse-click."

In Operational Landscape, an ambiguous  but colourful landscape oscillates between appearing to be land-based and sky/cosmic-based. Are you looking down upon a landscape or up towards a tumultuous sky or are you looking into a landscape of  mountains, river, grassy knolls and sky? This play with perspective, is a visual ploy I use regularly in my work. I like to think it generates surprise, imaginational involvement and ultimately a critical stance. Lines seeming converge somewhere. That they are operational is evidenced by the cross-hairs set against the dark terrain. Whether you are above or below the signals, the occupation of volumetric landscape - from land, to sky, to space - is inescapable. There is a sense that geography offers no hiding place in the era of the algorithm, the epoch of netted signals, and the age of the unmanned drone - the 21st century. 

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My painting New Horizons is a finalist in the $30,000 Tattersalls Landscape Art Prize. The exhibition of paintings will be on public view from Sept 10 until Sept 21, at Riverside Centre, 123 Eagle St , Brisbane, Queensland, Australia: weekdays 7am - 6pm.

All the finalist paintings can be previewed HERE

Congratulations to the winner of the prize as Kate Shaw, with her painting The Grandparents -1928, The Gorge.

New Horizons Oil on linen 97 x 112 cm 2018


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